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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 848741, 18 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/848741
Research Article

Thrust Vector Control of an Upper-Stage Rocket with Multiple Propellant Slosh Modes

Department of Physical Sciences, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA

Received 24 May 2012; Revised 4 July 2012; Accepted 4 July 2012

Academic Editor: J. Rodellar

Copyright © 2012 Jaime Rubio Hervas and Mahmut Reyhanoglu. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The thrust vector control problem for an upper-stage rocket with propellant slosh dynamics is considered. The control inputs are defined by the gimbal deflection angle of a main engine and a pitching moment about the center of mass of the spacecraft. The rocket acceleration due to the main engine thrust is assumed to be large enough so that surface tension forces do not significantly affect the propellant motion during main engine burns. A multi-mass-spring model of the sloshing fuel is introduced to represent the prominent sloshing modes. A nonlinear feedback controller is designed to control the translational velocity vector and the attitude of the spacecraft, while suppressing the sloshing modes. The effectiveness of the controller is illustrated through a simulation example.